United Airlines secretly raises ticket change fees

We are officially in the era of airline fees. Over the past few weeks, major carriers across the country have been implementing extra fees to check second bags on their aircraft. Now, beginning with United Airlines, they’re starting to charge higher fees to change your ticket.

The way the regular system works is as follows: when you buy a ticket you purchase your seat in a certain fare class, ranging from a full fare in first class to a deeply discounted ticket in coach. Among the tickets in your class of service, most are non-refundable tickets that you basically can’t return after you swipe your card. Most airlines allow you to change that ticket however, with various stipulations. Often times the ticket needs to be in the same fare class and in all circumstances the airlines are going to hit you with a hefty fee. This varies from 50$ upwards based on the airline, class of ticket and elite status that the passenger may have with the airline.

In this instance, United raised their fee from 100$ up to 150$ to make any changes to your ticket. And they didn’t even tell anybody when they did it last Friday night. News is just slowly seeping out now.

Often times, airlines will make these changes to affect the bottom tier of passengers, exempting many of the first class and elite customers. But not in this case. This is a unilateral 50$ increase in fees across the board, so even if you’re super a super special elite passenger you still get screwed. Cool huh?

I wouldn’t doubt if other airlines started increasing their fees to change tickets as well. Perhaps soon they will start charging for padding on our seats and the right to sit down?